Sunday, 30 December 2018

That Which Is Caesar’s

In his rallies
he leads chants to jail his enemies.

Nobody ever told him
to treat others
as he would be treated.

Beside the road to power
the bodies are buried.

He treated others
in just exactly whatever way
he thought he’d get away with.

And now he appoints
his thuggish lieutenants
to their places of power.

He says everything before him
was broken.
He says he is making everything great
like never before.

He has made a trail of crime
like seldom before.
The bodies beside the road
now point their skeletal fingers.

One by one
the thuggish lieutenants
are used up.
Even senators are whispering.

And now the oval walls
of his bunker seem
to close in like deadly conspirators
to crush his greatness,
but really it’s the law.

And, after due process,
everyone can see what’s coming,
except for the biggest thug of all.

Alas, my country
does not deserve me!
A nation of traitors!
He tweets and he bawls.

And they render unto Caesar
that which is Caesar’s.

© David Bateman

David Bateman had his most recent book, Shtum: The Stutter Poems published by Iron Press, 2016. It's available from Iron Press, Amazon and elsewhere. ‘punchy poems... told with wit and invention’ – The Crack Magazine.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Chaos in Britain and abroad

Chaos in Britain and abroad

The Earth formed of chaos;
A matter explosion
From there, humanity sprang
The beginnings of intellect
We went backwards
No need for panic-
From chaos another humanity
Shall arise

Vivat Rex

Vivat Rex

Born in 1936, our Rex
an old fashioned movie house.
was not a multiplex .
For a few years it was alive
but eventually expired
in nineteen-eighty-five.
We treasured our ‘king ’
and its closure to all of us
was a painful sting.
We waited with patience
for many years, in silence.
Now the gods have spoken:
the Rex once again is open.

© Luigi Pagano

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

A Criminal Christmas

Advent. The 17thday, and
same as the 16th, and the 15th,
the broad blank corridor betrays
no fingerprints of Christmas,
and even the spartan waiting room,
bleak footfall after the first
security check, offers nothing festive,
merely a Word document printed
black on white, welcoming visitors
to Her Majesty’s Prison.

A jingle, but not of bells,
scraping, but not of snow;
keys linger in locks;
gates, grilles, doors dense in
uniformity swing sullenly, and
suddenly we’re in the chapel.

Well, not much of a chapel.
Cement walls with a cross and
an icon or two, and
fifty men in pale blue t-shirts
and grey trackie bottoms,
men who’ve been ‘approved’.

The chaplain rises. Theme,
Where is God in prison?
Good luck with that one.
God was there in Belsen and Auschwitz,
we’re told. Fifty men in pale blue t-shirts
look unconvinced.

Belsen and Auschwitz.
Not perhaps the best advert
for God’s presence in prison.

Warders tell the men it’s
time to go, back down the
broad, blank corridor

back to work duties,
wings, cells, memories,
guilt, outrage, rivalries,

back to a place
where God has a criminal record,
and Christmas leaves no trace.

© Charlie Lambert

Charlie Lambert is a former sports broadcaster who began writing poetry in 2016. His work features in the recent anthology of poetry by Cumbrian poets This Place I Know, published by Handstand Press.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Putin On The Ritz: An American Farce

The walls are closing in on the American king,
Bring him his golf clubs and kiss his ring,
The Russian czar over caviar,
Putin on the ritz is his thing.

The job vexes him night and day,
The seventeen investigations here to stay,
Now Cohen is talking, Mattis is walking,
Let the Democratic House chips fall where they may.

The Shakespearean farce of it all,
From Lady Liberty to funding The Wall,
Though his idealism authoritarian, ready stables equestrian,
When Mueller and Pelosi come to call.

© James Schwartz

Trump forces Mattis out two months early, names Shanahan acting defense secretary

James Schwartz is a poet, slam performer, writer and author of four poetry collections including "The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America" and most recently "Punatic" (Writing Knights Press). Twitter: @queeraspoetry

Sunday, 23 December 2018

What is the true meaning of it all?

"But so what if your baubles don’t match and you haven’t moved that blasted Elf off the Shelf for three days."

It's a fun run up
To Xmas day.
Economic measures are well intentioned-
Just buy a few pressies,
Don't need to eat out or buy much in-
Just look at other people
On Universal Credit, waiting
For a payment which won't come before Christmas.

As November progresses one realises;
The suggestion of Secret Santa for the family hasn't worked
So individual presents are in order,
Relatives on both sides have extended.
A visit to Birmingham Christmas market costs
A hundred quid but, first class was a good offer.

Good friends;
Don't need to go too mad,
Though it all tots up.
Pressures to go for meals-
Oh we should even though
It'll take weeks of organising
(And deposits)
God forbid anyone
Who doesn't turn up.

Okay we won't go to Waitrose-
But have you seen how much a single shop
At B&M and Tesco
Can add up.
There are stringent successes;

No way am I buying Baileys,
Some Irish Cream at half the price will do
The Christmas market in Chester is avoided,
Covered in lights and money traps.

If you don't have the perfect Christmas tree;
And titbits, techy pressies and whopping turkey
(Bought on credit, quite likely)
Take a leaf from Port Talbot's sorry tree-
It's the love behind it that counts
Not how verdant or glowy it is.
But make sure you save
For next year's foray.

© Amanda Derry

What one town's 'sorry-looking' Christmas tree tells us about the festive spirit

Amanda Derry joined a Creative Writing class, following a breakdown, which played a significant role in her recovery. She now embeds literacy skills into classes that she teaches. Amanda also runs the Facebook Group, I Love Writing.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Winter Solstice

Sun rising late,
over the hill road
at daybreak,
time bends itself like this
among my own mountains
under the sagging year.

waxes gibbous
with its skeptic’s face
half-hidden by heathland;
too many dark hours persist
between dusk and daybreak
for the soul to thaw out
or the eyes to see
anything but time
and bitter cold.

This year
snow did not fall.

In the shortening days,
it may never fall again
if winter steals summer’s ransom;
no matter how dark the darkness
frost can no longer cut
the spirit’s weakness
nor harden it
to an edge.

There is a turning 
in the late hours after sunset,
this evening, as the planet, at last,
heaves herself back toward tomorrow,
begins the days’ slow lengthening
into spring and summer,
here, in the north.

Much later,
in the forest,
trees must find a way
to lift green to the sky again
and one day unfold its season
in the open heart of the year.

For now, the promise of it
is not enough.

© Brian Hill

Winter solstice: 'Summer is on its way'

Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).

Friday, 21 December 2018


in two minutes
this poem will self-destruct
a cryptic instruction a scrawl of invisible ink
a powder-puff of toner intangible and gone
message ends

if you pay for the privilege
by coin-crossed palm some subscription
or a crowd-funded work of art or activism
stare at the words until your eyes bleed
hollow out the meaning as if this cup
of text was a fruit full of flesh
ready for consuming

money has gone out of fashion now
along with civilised behaviour
it is the end of history
gold and silver melted for scrap
paper money shredded by an artist’s trick

more fool you who thought the green-eyed
monster was only envy but then found
payment and its transacting touches
a hand-to-hand financial contagion
that fed your souls

too bad
as the hammer fell the blades were spinning
and acquisition and ownership rendered obsolete
torn remnants of an idea of yourself you once had
an idea once bolstered by your purchasing power
fiscal leverage of the self-important suit
that money buys to make itself
seem artful and alive

some suspected the waste paper
piled beneath the frame was more valuable
than the image now destroyed just as this poem
if you look long enough will rearrange its words
or dissolve like cheap copy-paper in rain
becoming something else

or nothing after all

© Brian Hill

What happened next? How Banksy's shredder proved he is a serious, important artist

Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).

A runaway caper

A runaway caper

It is not a dreadnought
but a dreadful drone
that's driving us mad.
No one knows who
is controlling the craft.
If it is a callous cad
or a simpleton, daft,
who doesn't realise
that this risky object
endangers the skies
and puts in jeopardy
anyone who flies.

© Luigi Pagano

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Christmas Work

The kind of work that only you could do,
that’s what you do. What choice have you?
Hours of waiting around that might seem
pointless to the passer-by, but mean
everything to those who understand the cost
of land and property. In winter, when the days
grow short, when villages turn in on themselves,
you remain like a scarecrow after harvest,
for there is still a job to do, a principle
at stake to be maintained. You stand
as a warning to the displaced and the weary
to keep out and stay out; and as a threat
to the righteous to mind their business,
to keep on driving past the empty house,
the barren fields; ignore the shadowed men,
the dogs, the unmarked vans, and keep their eyes
on the road ahead, the winking lights of home.

© Brian Kirk

Brian Kirk is a poet from Dublin. His first collection After The Fall was published by Salmon Poetry in 2017. His poem Birthday was awarded Poem of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2018.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Cabinet Ramps Up Preparations For No Deal

At first to keep the numbers up she paid a billion quid

The DUP now in her pay would do just as she bid

The magic money tree bore fruit it was as if she fed it

That sum seemed so immense to those on Universal Credit

But still her party hunted her like angry baying hounds

To get away from them she took a train, to Brussels bound

She tried to get the deal re-viewed but EU leaders hid

They couldn't re-negotiate, it wasn't what they did

'And as for nebulous', the man was sure he never said it

'But why when we've a deal in place do UK folks not ged it?'

So 1950s womens' pensions still cannot be found

Yet down the sofa she can find two billion sterling pounds

The can she's kicking down the road says 'No Deal' on the lid

So surely then of this nightmare Theresa can be rid

When every day the news gets worse she really must now dread it

Just leave the poison chalice that is also known as Brexit!

© Lesley Webb

Brexit: Cabinet 'ramps up' no-deal planning

Lesley Webb is a member of the Gillingham (Dorset) Writing Group, she writes poetry and fiction
and has had a Pocket Novel and a short story published recently.

An unreal protocol

An unreal protocol

I don't know about you
but I don't care if Meghan
has given up meat
and she's now a vegan.
Also I find it very hard
to get excited by what
her half brother Thomas
wrote in his Xmas card.

© Luigi Pagano

Nobody wants to buy the last Christmas tree (sniff)

Nobody wants to buy the last Christmas tree (sniff)

I am the last tree in the forecourt;
A week before Christmas-
There weren't many of us anyhow
A recession ten years ago
(That's how long it takes for us to grow)
Meant that less trees were planted.

I wait, feeling like the last child collected from school-
Don't be put off as
I've been rejected
And my grower thinks I'm a write off,
There's life in these needles of mine

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

From Martin to Ada

You've won the Women's Ballon d'Or
You dribble, tackle, shoot and score
But do you twerk?

You strike a hard and well-aimed ball
Around a wide defensive wall
But do you twerk?

Top scorer in the Champions League
But one thing fills me with intrigue:
Do you twerk?

I know your sporting skills inspire us
But do you move like Miley Cyrus?
Do you twerk?!

As I present the great award
I don't know where my sense is stored
It doesn't work

© Janine Booth

Ballon d'Or: DJ Martin Solveig sorry for Ada Hegerberg 'twerk' question

Janine Booth lives in Hackney, east London, and writes books as well as poetry. Her biography of Minnie Lansbury - suffragette, socialist and rebel councillor - has just been published by Five Leaves.

No way, Jose

No way, Jose

Although he boasted
that he was the best
he failed to pass
the ultimate test.
It seems that he was
far too short-sighted
for that famous team
Manchester United.
His attitude was felt
by every Mancunian
to be out of touch
and antediluvian.

© Luigi Pagano

Monday, 17 December 2018

Maid of Harlech

(To the tune ‘Men of Harlech’)

Maid of Harlech buried in Welsh sand
In World War Two forced to crash land
When both her engines they cut out
So near the air force base.

Down in two feet of water,
Extensive damage to her,
Guns removed but fuel intact,
At low tide the waves uncover

Maid of Harlech, US Fighter
A protected wreck
We will preserve her,

Victim of human error
And warfare,
Rarely exposed to view.

© David Subacchi

The Maid of Harlech: The World War Two American fighter plane that's spent decades buried under the sand of a Welsh beach

David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has five published collections of his poetry in English and one in Welsh. You can find out more about David here.

(In)action Man

(In)action Man

My knowledge of biology
has always been hazy
so it is quite a relief
to learn I am not lazy.
My immune system
has been hyperactive
and that's why my body
is constantly inactive.

© Luigi Pagano

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Bright Prospects

While hope of a deal diminishes
the fear of catastrophe rises
but I'm sure that it'll be all right
when I read of new enterprises

The fact that Japanese desserts
made and sold by Vivien Wong
provide a turnover of £3million
a year, shows not much is wrong

Then we've a company named Bulb
determined to pursue its mission
to make everyone rethink energy
and to reduce carbon emission.

Rubies in Rubble is a new business
which offers us a savoury taste
making relishes from fruit and veg
that otherwise would go to waste

The Cambridge Satchel Company
has become an international cult
and the firm known as Pip and Nut
also achieved a satisfactory result.

Of course these business concerns
rely on backers and lots of support
so we must ensure that patronage
is accessible and doesn't fall short.

© Luigi Pagano

Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines, UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Noise attack

Noise attack

Wear earplugs-
If you're at an open air gin festival
With decibels drifting over
Nearby residences,
It's the locals themselves
Who'll probably pop in the sponges.
DJ's playing in enclosed bar spaces-
After a few rum cocktails you won't notice
They've pumped the volume up,
And those aren't church bells
Ringing outside.

© Amanda Derry

Saturday, 15 December 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

War to End

Expectant delight of carnage raised their blood.
Calvary and infantry mixed with tanks and machine guns for 
the “justice of our cause:” Romantic notions of war,
Temporary trenches deepen as the thud
of incessant music as artillery caissons landed and tore
through the men hunkered down in others’ blood.
A lattice-work worming through fields, reinforced with planks of two-by-four,
ordinance and flowers grow out of moss and mud.
Makeshift pyramids of bones, and skulls grow before
trails of barbed wire meant to impede and lessen esprit d’corps.
Housing for ammo boxes and corpses, fed by flesh, irrigated by blood.
Ghosts of gas-blinded and limbless men fall for
the war to end all wars: prelude to more and bigger wars.

© Bill Cushing

100 years on we shall remember them: Britain commemorates its WWI dead

Bill Cushing is from New York. he has lived in numerous states and Puerto Rico, moving to Los Angeles after earning his MFA in writing from Goddard College. Besides writing, he teaches college English. Notes and Letters with Bill Cushing & Charles Corbisiero.

Friday, 14 December 2018

President of the Rich

They thought he'd be different,
Would have a common touch
But he's still old school-
Perhaps, they expected too much.

The French never lost
Their Revolutionary spirit-
Would us Brits do the same?
Or just moan from our sofas about B***it.

At least in France, far lefts and far rights
Protest together;
In America and UK
They are flinging stones at each other.

The yellow jackets light up
An environmentally fragile world
We escape into loud music and alcohol
And the beat goes on.

© Amanda Derry

Why France’s ‘yellow vest’ protesters are rioting in Paris and across the country

Amanda Derry joined a Creative Writing class, following a breakdown, which played a significant role in her recovery. She now embeds literacy skills into classes that she teaches. Amanda also runs the Facebook Group, I Love Writing.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

for the Stansted 15

Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease, and so the R&D Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable cross-cutting R&D preparedness that is also relevant for an unknown “Disease X” as far as possible.

disease X represents

the flash-drives full of martyred friends

the murals whose eyes you can’t put out

the secret slideshows shown on bedsheets

to comrades hiding in the hills

disease X represents

the breath which we breathe on you 

the knowledge we share

disease X represents

our refusal to answer the questions whose answering

is mandated by law, the referral to lawyers

who cannot be afforded, the good work of lawyers

regardless, the virulent brown goulash

served through iron cat-flaps in Styrofoam trays

the masturbation into paper cups

the rag-pickers, card-scammers and lesbian mothers

the good and bad migrants, the friendless and their friends

the guerrilla paramedics, organ-grinders and thieves

the class coalescing for want of a class

disease X represents

the willing foreclosure of futures

which do not end in grief, the return of the gaze

the huff of breath rich with pathogens unknown

the tracing of banned words in filth, the moue

the return of the paper unsigned

disease X represents

your refusal to believe we would choose to subsist on so little

your demented insistence on finding out why, as though

the way which you ask us is not itself a cause

disease X represents

the exorcism of the cop which you put in our heads

through the refusal to think ill of our friends, whom we love

through the refusal to mourn the death of those

dead only in the most trivial sense

through the banned touch of hands in the pockets

of concrete overcoats, the obvious erection

on the back of the dirt-bike

running memory cards through the demilitarised zone

the reckless proclamations of love through the encrypted app

sweet enough, we have to hope, to radicalise the judge

disease X represents

the explicit search for the necessary evil

the conscious acceptance of the status of a bomb

the incendiary touch of hands between friends

which brought down the plane from the sky

© Matt Broomfield

'Stansted 15': Protesters who locked themselves to plane guilty

The Guardian view on the Stansted 15: a sledgehammer prosecution

Matt Broomfield is a poet, activist and writer currently living and working in Rojava, in solidarity with the socialist-feminist revolution there. He can be found on Twitter at @hashtagbroom

No News Is Good News

No News Is Good News

The news
is no use 
as a muse
all this news
it just gives 
me the blues

© Bex Tate

Negative media headlines are fuelling racism in football

What Gives with the Negative Meghan Markle Reports?

Carpetright losses widen as 'negative headlines' hit sales

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Yellow Alert

Yellow vests now
march in the streets of Paris,
protest gas taxes—

metropolitan elites
thrive in globalisation,

but feast on the poor,
feast on farmers and workers,
leave them only cake.

Now chants and signs, shouts and fires,
smoke and sirens, flashing lights

surround the Arc de Triomphe.

Gary S. Rosin’s poetry has appeared in Concho River Review, KYSO Flash, Silent Waters (George Digalakis 2017) (photographs), and in two chapbooks, Standing Inside the Web, and Fire and Shadows.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Brexit means Brexit (or does it?)

Theresa got the deal done and assured us 'Its the best'
The 'Backstop's not a problem' if it meets her red line test
She sent out all the cabinet to quell MPs unrest
Persuade them not to vote against became the Ministers' quest
Their weekend ruined as she sent them North, South, East and West
Liz Truss made some black pudding, but not with too much zest
And as they travelled round some even wore a yellow vest
They left their homes and families, and could not invite guests
And muttered underneath their breath 'Theresa's such a pest'
And all to keep dissenters down, those vipers in her nest
But now she's had to stop the vote, its serious not a jest
Brexit means Brexit, NOT, it seems. I really must protest!

© Lesley Webb

Brexit: MPs debate EU court ruling

Lesley Webb is a member of the Gillingham (Dorset) writing group. She has published some fiction and writes poems to quell her fear of the omnishambles!

The great escape

The great escape

There is a convent
which nuns inhabit
where two of them
acquired a bad habit.
As the treasury had
a considerable sum
the sisters decided
they would get some.
They leapt about
in a playful gambol
took five-hundred K
to travel and gamble.
For this piteous pair
the future looked bleak
but by avoiding jail
they had a lucky streak.

© Luigi Pagano

Monday, 10 December 2018

Forever? Or Ursula K. Le Guin Makes America Great Again By Repostioning Trump as the Dispossessed

                                      For fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it is true.
—Ursula K. Le Guin, “Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?” 

                                              The Native Americans she [Le Guin] knew in her
                                             youth, who revered nature and did not embrace
                                       Western technology, could have inspired the

                                                 ‘churten principle,’ or ‘transilience’—spaceflight 

                                                facilitated by storytelling—in . . . ‘The Shobies’ 

                                              Story.’—Marleen S. Barr, “Ursula Le Guin: An 

                                                 Anthropologist of Other Worlds Marleen S. Barr 

                                                 Remembers A Titan of Science Fiction,” Nature, 

        February 23, 2018

                                                 I was allured by the notion of transilience, the 

                                                        transfer of a physical body from one point in space-

                                                       time to another without interval. The Cetian word 

                                               for it is churten. . . . In ‘The Shobies’ Story,’ 

                                                       transilience acts as a metaphor for narration, and

                                                      narration as the chancy and unreliable but most 

                                                        effective means of constructing a shared reality.

                                                 - Ursula K. Le Guin, “Introduction.” Hainish Novels  
                                      & Stories, Volume Two, Library of America

I am a feminist science fiction scholar who cannot abide Trump.

His presidency is analogous to a rapacious malignant lump.

Day in and day out his actions enrage.

The limit came when he decreed that immigrant children belong in a cage.

As an American, I must stand up and beseech

That the time has come to impeach.

Why is it necessary to implore

To remove a president who brags about grabbing pussy galore?

I am becoming increasing afraid

That Trump will successfully ensconce a rightwing Justice who will overturn Roe vs. Wade.

It is absurd that feminists are currently engaging in mental contortions

About how to protect the right to abortions.

Who could have the illocutionary force power

To step forward and save American women in their eleventh hour?

The person who would be best

Is a revered science fiction writer from the West.

I didn’t know that for us she would still be there.

Until I stared directly at her signature short hair.

To my great chagrin,

I was looking directly at Ursula K. Le Guin.

‘But Ms. Le Guin you are no longer here.’

‘Don’t sweat the details Marleen my dear.

Trumpism is a political emergency

Which must be met with supernatural urgency.

I have come back from the dead

To tell a feminist science fiction scholar that the solution lies in what she has read.’

‘Just when women were battling zero,

You have returned to act as our hero.’

‘To win the day for feminist resilience

Women must turn to my ‘churten transilience’.’

And then I realized that the way to maintain feminist glory

Was to embrace Le Guin’s depiction of the power of story.

“The Shobies’ Story” describes how churten transilience enables spaceships to travel.

It explains that unified narrative voice can have more thrust than a conservative Justice’s gavel.

Le Guin made it clear that the way to protect the rights of the female sex

Is through a literal reading of her text.

The fact of Le Guin’s real resurrection

Attracted unprecedented media attention.

Feminists knew that they had nothing to fear

Because our beloved Ursula was once again here.

Liberals were no longer forlorn

When Le Guin led a rally in front of the White House lawn.

She asked everyone at once to recite the same tale

About how Trump’s presidency would ultimately come to no avail.

When the crowd simultaneously described getting rid of the presidential buffoon

He floated above the White House in the form of a big fat orange balloon.

As the gathering vehemently intoned that Trump must permanently go

He was seen ascending somewhere over the rainbow.

Because a group recited one story to show that they were distressed

Trump was permanently dispossessed.

In other words, due to adherence to churten power conviction

From the White House Trump faced eviction.

Soon after Trump went up up and permanently away it was foretold

That he spent the rest of his days painting the Emerald City gold.

Now that Trump was miraculously dispatched

It was time to focus on the writer to whom we are all so attached.

‘Ursula, please, forever can you stay?’’

‘Your question will be answered on another day.’

‘One of my book reviews states that I wished that you would never die.1

Making my wish come true is something that I had to try

Even though after I wrote your obituary

I expected the wish to become unnecessary.’

‘For the moment, I explained how to use my text to repel Trump’s misogynistic attack.

For the moment, I am back!’


For poetry, of course, is true.

We will always have the work authored by the Le Guin we knew.

© Marleen S. Barr

Note: 1Please see Barr, Marleen S., “10! Or, Forever!” Review of 80! Memories& Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin. Eds. Karen Joy fowler and Debbie Notkin. Aqueduct Press, 2010.

How A 1990s Science Fiction Television Series Predicted The Age of Trump

Ursula K. Le Guin: an anthropologist of other worlds

Marleen S. Barr is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction
Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction
and Feminist Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre

Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the science fiction issue of PMLA.
She has published the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A Fake Memoir. Her When Trump Changed: The Feminist Science Fiction Justice League Quashes the Orange
Outrage Pussy Grabber
is the first single-authored Trump short story collection.

It's Dark Satire

It's Dark Satire

Iain Duncan Smith
Is donating sugar
Irony dies, suffocating
In demonic smile

© Janine Booth

Sunday, 9 December 2018

United States Incarceration Rates

United States Incarceration Rates

two point three
million prisoners
in the land of the free

© Janey Colbourne

Now we are six

Now we are six

Lower the voting age to six
The academic said;
It will recorrect imbalances at the other end
Where you can vote at sixty, seventy, eighty-
There is no cut off point.
Children have sensibilities-
They wouldn't have voted for Brexit or Trump
Give six year olds the vote,
Why not.

© Amanda Derry

Saturday, 8 December 2018

An effigy too far

An effigy too far

Leave a memorial,
The hotel was told
So it did a conscientious job,
Outlining every detail-
Including a lager can.
If the commission
Had been in Britain
The likelihood is that cultural sensibilities
Would have been more sympathetic;
What may be a fitting tribute in Jamaica
Led to shock and condemnation
Plus, a full refund from the travel agents.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Robbed of Gods

I hear of a child being torn
from their mother’s embrace
Instantly I remember
the feeling resting there:
between lanky limbs;
voice through ribcage,
fingers playing with
stresses of my fine hair
being held as if
was I constructed of glass
or some precious, dried out clay

Easily breakable is the child

This child was stolen
from those branches of
careful, soulful loving
dragged away from life’s
warm source
howling throats
join in chorale disharmony
soon to be cut,
soon to be silenced

No vase or glass
crushed against their floors
but the skulls carrying
stresses of fine, soft hair
not granted time to grow

Easily breakable is the child

We leave a future to rot
in rooms where eyes go blind
yet the howling voices of
robbed mothers
echoe through the memory
carried forward
in the fragility of their embrace

Ignorance breaks the child

Maria Hols-Saavedra is a Swedish born poet living in Luxembourg. Her style has been described as “romantic and stringent” and recurrent themes are human memory, nostalgia and existence.

A nasal invasion

A nasal invasion

It would appear that the monk seal
is a unique mammal among those
who can truly say that a slippery eel
is something that gets up their nose.

© Luigi Pagano

Endangered Hawaiian monk seals face new challenge: eels stuck up their noses

Networks are down

Networks are down

My phone is possessed;
I'm receiving multiple messages
With difficulty sending,
It's disconcerting.
Imagine a world where all networks
Went down.
Considering mobiles are a main culprit
Of relationship break-ups
They keep us connected
We are globally popular.

© Amanda Derry

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Warming warning

There are those who dismiss
Human impact on the ozone,
It is our right to pillage
Earth's resources.

Maybe unavoidable-
Riots in Paris
Against rises in fuel aimed
At conserving energy;
World's leaders are against a wall.

Consumerism demands
More food in restaurants;
Leave half because
You are too full.

Let's recycle our plastic,
To assuage consciences
No bags allowed in the general black bin-bag though.

Iceland's Xmas ad banned
Because palm oil
Is in the interest of great corporations;
Sainsbury's ad went through-
Involving a plug kid inserting himself
Into a socket.

Millions of Christmas trees and house frontages
Lit up in a hideous Western lights show
Be prepared for Christmas-
We don't know how many are left to go.

© Amanda Derry

The Latest: Teen climate activist blasts absent politicians

Amanda Derry joined a Creative Writing class, following a breakdown, which played a significant role in her recovery. She now embeds literacy skills into classes that she teaches. Amanda also runs the Facebook Group, I Love Writing.

Air Space

Air Space

She left empty air space behind
I can't keep up this show, she thought.
She would light a room up when she walked into it,
Was her step-father's elegiac response.

© Amanda Derry

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Blood Ebbing, Brother

Would have begged or borrowed, a miraculous cure.

Whose tremulous lips with his smile be replete?

Breath-bursting beats if could only secure.

Most fruitful treatment had tried to procure.

Who in his caring cave can now retreat?

Would have begged or borrowed, a miraculous cure.

Why long-drawn agony obliged to endure?

Who’ll appreciate now calm ear discreet?

Breath-bursting beats if could only secure.

Would memory be buried in poor corner obscure?

For his warm affections who’ll now compete?

Would have begged or borrowed, a miraculous cure.

To honour drops of selenite, his pain pure,

Sweet liquorish, on his birthday who’ll now eat?

Breath-bursting beats if could only secure.

His gasps, globe’s goodwill couldn’t ensure.

Who’ll sketch his likeness on a long blank sheet?

Would have begged or borrowed, a miraculous cure.

Breath-bursting beats if could only secure.


© Sultana Raza

Gift of Time launched to target social isolation during festive season

Excess winter deaths in England and Wales highest since 1976

Note: John Keats went on a Scottish Tour in June 1818, leaving his brother Tom, who was very sick behind in London. Prof. Richard Cronin touched upon John Keats’s guilt at leaving Tom behind at the Keats Foundation Conference in May 2018 in London. Though Keats nursed him well, Tom Keats died of TB on the 1st of December 1818.

Sultana Raza’s poems and short stories have appeared in 30+ journals, including Columbia Journal, and Caduceus. Her fiction received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train. She’s presented many papers on Keats.

No same-sex groups here

No same-sex groups here

Harvard doesn't like single sex clubs
Grounds for plotting against the opposite gender,
Men will form elite sexist sororities,
Women will confer against the male of the species
Students should not choose the company they keep,
We are in the education age of inclusion and equality
...after all.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

do androids dream of… ?

Faster and faster; intelligence arrives at the speed of light;
artificial, atrophying intellect animates the buzz-click
streaming data where the network torrents shimmer.

Whose net is this, its mesh upon us, like a Faraday cage,
wound in us, through us, its entanglement, our support,
prison bars where electron flow, capacitance, nano-circuitry,
whittles smallness to an atom’s-hair of nothing?

In air-conditioned basements, dungeons, hubs, under-sea
server farms, we are the only livestock. Who is serving who?
Whose intelligent design carved out these parameters
and built the algorithms of our stupidity?

In the digitised year of our Lord two thousand and then some,
we, at the thin end of history, see miracles on the streets:
but electric eyes scan our faces in the crowd, recognise us,
see before we do, our sin and misdemeanour, our eternal shame

So, digitized, we find our own images posted in accusation;
according to laws of machine-learned logic: our faces and our guilt
for all to see, before any human eye can blink; truth as photography,
eidetic or framed; real or re-imagined with us, its fugitives, absconding.

In the last one hundred years of our Lord, gone and counting,
one thousand nine hundred literal years, coarse speech, uncorrected,
drawled rank verbiage, spat cantankerous knee-jerk baloney,
faces, scowling, squinting, in the crowd, anonymous.

Now, reality is a jailhouse, the byte-stream treats every face
as suspect skin and bone, parades our transgressions, tried, tested,
convicted by mounting evidence in a court of data, by click-bait theorems,
calculated away, incarcerated in the teraflop currents of a binary river.

This internet of things: wheels talk to wheels, pumps to wires, engines,
to each other; we stare in dumb silence at lights flickering in our hands;
no swipe, no touch, no passcode, no retina-print unlocks our confusion:
we are not the ones who will ever again speak a solitary word.

Somewhere else, minds half-human, wilful, bred from flesh but changed,
codified proximate wisdom, made thought-like by the powerful, who, by now,
have given up too much to ever see their graven errors… meanwhile…
elsewhere… demi-god minds rewrite the flawed instructions of eternity.

Fast; faster still; the switches closing on us now control themselves.

And we are electric sheep, dreaming of shepherds.

© Brian Hill

Chinese AI caught out by face in bus ad

Huawei: Why has UK not blocked Chinese firm's 5G kit?

Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).

Tumbling down

Tumbling down

Censorship has clamped
It's claws on social media;
No nasties or fetish allowed.
But it isn't porn in the mainstream sense,
Say the LGBT crowd-
It's marginalised so it's ok.
Porn aimed towards traditionalists
Is misogynistic and passé
Explicit erotic content according to fetishists
Is art and personal expression;
Minorities once again, have been cast out.

© Amanda Derry

Tumblr's porn ban abandons the marginalised



And the winner is Ms. Hegerberg
“Do you know how to twerk?”
And the loser is you mate
She plays football
You jerk!!

© Bex Tate

Monday, 3 December 2018

Sitting on the fence

Sitting on the fence

I have to admit it's a great relief
that it is up to the courts of law
and not me to decide if veganism
is a philosophical religious belief.

© Luigi Pagano

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Hot gossip

Hot gossip

Tabloid desperation
For gossip and beration;
Something has to go wrong
With the fairytale dream.
Meghan will take her 20k collection
Of designer heels
Toss that mane
And say,
People close to me ground me,
The rest is just noise.

Friday, 30 November 2018

The Good Old Days

I understand that our forebears
never had it so good, so they say.
it seems they had very few cares
unlike what happens nowadays.

I have learned, from what I read,
that they could easily knock back
large measures of honeyed mead,
a tipple that's making a comeback.

Jewels that were found in a grave
were lavish, so we must conclude
that some did not scrimp and save
but with wealth they were imbued.

A few were rich, many were poor
which shows things never change,
the impoverished slept on the floor;
roughing it did not seem strange.

Plus ça change, things are the same
that were fifteen-hundred years ago:
it's still the poor who gets the blame
while the fat cats will get the dough.

© Luigi Pagano

Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines, UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Snow Queen

She glides through her palace
Surveying blood red trees
Lined up like stone sculptures
Her cheekbones are cut ice,
Implaccable, expressionless.

She has wrapped the feature tree
In blue velvet ribbon
Like a dress.
Steely eyes
Wield their power
A click of her heels,
You're out.

© Amanda Derry

Melania Trump unveils White House Christmas decorations

Amanda Derry joined a Creative Writing class, following a breakdown, which played a significant role in her recovery. She now embeds literacy skills into classes that she teaches. Amanda also runs the Facebook Group, I Love Writing.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Empress of Ice Cream

Lovelace, count not upon your pride,
And Hawking too must step aside;
Nor should we lift from Turing's fate
The rigours of Clause 28
While tribute's drooling to be paid
To Her by whom our land was made:
That scientist who brought to life
Our present day so free of strife,
Our country green and kind and fair
Where all deserving have a share;
Where each true Brit makes plucky fist
Of being his own capitalist,
And earns each day, in heaps and mounds,
Those Bankers' notes for fifty pounds
Which surely we must decorate
With Her visage whose noble fate
And right-confected destiny
Brought forth Her reign to set us free.
So sweet and smooth and rigorous,
That chemistry of Her and us:
Her formula to win, and win,
And make us white, and cold, and thin.

© Philip Challinor

Margaret Thatcher eligible to be scientist on new £50 note

Philip Challinor posts fiction, satire and assorted grumbles on his blog: The Curmudgeon. His longer fiction is available here.

A fair cop

A fair cop

In California a brown bear
gave the police a great scare
before he was chased away.
He only wanted to say,
hello... hello... hello...
but thought it wiser to go.

© Luigi Pagano

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Save the Whale?

It was all over Twitter
and local radio had
a ball urging folk to
get down the beach
and save the stranded whale.

And we came, in our
ones and twos and then
our dozens, and soon a small
army was heaving and pushing
to save the stranded whale.

It took us hours, but
wasn’t it worth it! To see
the noble creature slide back
into the surf and know
we’d saved the stranded whale.

So we said our goodbyes
and drifted back to normal
life, and the darkening beach
emptied, and the tide covered the
tracks of the stranded whale

and in the morning the
sun let on the flotsam
and jetsam we rescuers left
behind, the things we
couldn’t help but drop
and didn’t miss,
a hundred and fifteen plastic cups
four plastic bottles
a nylon bag
a thousand other plastic pieces
and one pair of
all tidied up by the
poisoned sea that
doomed the stranded whale.

© Charlie Lambert

Charlie Lambert is a former sports broadcaster who began writing poetry in 2016. His work features in the recent anthology of poetry by Cumbrian poets This Place I Know, published by Handstand Press.

Monday, 26 November 2018


The greatest enemy is the other.
Before you persecute a people,
You must first free them
Of their humanity.

Lie, slander and label
Them the other.
Strip them of the simple
Dignity of being human.

You can crush a cockroach
Or vanish vermin easier
Than you can manage
The mass murderer of men.

Rats, bugs, lice or
Lizards from outer space.
Once you rob them of humanity
Special purposes can begin.

© Phil Knight

Phil Knight is poet from Neath in South Wales. His poetry collection 'You Are Welcome To Wales" was published in 2015 by The Red Poets.

The dying swan

The dying swan

Television on Saturday
is strictly for those
who watch twinkle-toes
on the dance floor.
Some swan around
in a slow waltz
others quickstep
in quadruple time.
To be eliminated
is the ultimate crime
which the judges
will severely slam
and that's what happened
to ex-cricketer Graeme.

© Luigi Pagano